Plans to erect a plaque memorializing the man who turned Czechoslovakia over to the Nazis prior to the outbreak of World War II have drawn sharp criticism from the World Jewish Congress.
Residents of the town of Trhove Sviny, located in what is now the Czech Republic, have decided to erect a plaque at the birthplace of Emil Hacha to mark the 50th anniversary of his death, according to the WJC.
Hacha was elected president of Czechoslovakia on Nov. 30,1938, less than two months after Hitler’s troops occupied the Sudentenland as a result of the Munich Pact signed by Adolf Hitler and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
Four months after his election, Hacha signed the protocols allowing Hitler to occupy the rest of Czechoslovakia.
After the war, Hacha was imprisoned for his alliance with Hitler. He died shortly after, while still incarcerated, on June 1, 1945.
Opposed to the attempt to erect the plaque this June, WJC is planning to launch a “very vigorous protest” with officials of the Czech government, according to Elan Steinberg, WJC executive director. The planned plaque is an “utter disgrace which tarnishes the memory of the victims of Hitler’s regime,” Steinberg said.